Banana marketers work with retailers to reach niche consumer groups and target demographics.
Turbana Corp., Coral Gables, Fla., recently began a program to help retailers reach the ethnic market by providing educational support through a mobile application.
Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla., tries to market various banana products to different groups based on their level of appeal.
“Adults and seniors are more interested in nutritional information, convenience and pricing, so it is important to include this information when communicating with these groups,” said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing, Del Monte.
In contrast, Christou said specialty bananas, such as manzanos and baby varieties, tend to be popular with younger consumers.
Bil Goldfield, communications manager for Dole Fresh Fruit, Westlake Village, Calif., said the company often targets consumers based on lifestyles instead of traditional demographics.
“For certain campaigns, our target marketing breakdown is often more lifestyle-based than strictly by age groups,” he said.
That means the promotions are targeted to consumers based on the message the company wants to convey.
“If we are promoting the virtues of bananas in terms of workout recovery, natural energy enhancement and portability, we may communicate more directly with fitness enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, as opposed to a usage and recipe campaign that might target shopper moms, dads and foodies across various age demographics,” Goldfield said.
Suppliers also want to target specific groups such as restaurants and schools.
“We’re seeing more demand for bananas in foodservice and schools than we were seeing before,” said Bill Sheridan, executive vice president of sales for Banacol Marketing Corp., Coral Gables, Fla.
“Foodservice and convenience channels have created new demand for produce and have presented us with opportunities to increase total produce consumption, especially for bananas,” he said.
For Del Monte, this means a focus on providing bananas to consumers in a convenient way, no matter where they shop.
“As consumers focus more on leading healthy lifestyles, they expect to find healthy options wherever they shop,” he said.
Consumers who want to snack on a banana may not always purchase the fruit ahead of time in a grocery store, so the company strives to market to those consumers on the go.
“They are starting to become more accustomed to buying groceries and fresh products in non-traditional outlets, and as these categories grow, it is important that bananas are available in these venues,” Christou said.